PRACTICE REPORT: Holt could end up a starter

Don't look now, but Kalimba Edwards may not be the only veteran shaken out of the starting lineup. Lions' insider Mike Fowler provides in-depth analysis and interviews of the most recent happenings in Allen Park, in his most extensive practice report yet. Practice squad candidates, Terrence Holt, Bly and Bryant, Harrington and much more.

(ALLEN PARK) - Don't look now, but Kalimba Edwards may not be the only veteran shaken out of the starting lineup.  

Brian Walker, the Lions starting strong safety is still suffering from the effects of a lingering knee injury.  In his absence, second-year man Terrance Holt continues to impress and could end up in the starting lineup.

Adding insult to injury, the Lions put in a claim for Washington Redskins safety Ifeanyi Ohalete, who started 14 games for the 'Skins last year.  He was cut after he gave up a 68-yard touchdown pass in Washington's loss to the Carolina Panthers.  

Ohalete recorded 105 tackles, three picks and two forced fumbles in 2003, so it's not a slam dunk that Detroit will get him.

They expect to find out later this week if they were awarded the fourth-year veteran from USC. Meanwhile,  Holt is showing speed and range that Walker doesn't possess.  Walker was held out of practice again yesterday after a contusion on his knee flared. Holt continues taking advantage of the extra reps.

It is not out of the question that Walker could even be released, saving Detroit his $1.3 million base salary.

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Look for the Roy Williams coming out party this weekend when the Lions play the Cleveland Browns.  Detroit head coach Steve Mariucci had that in mind last week, but Harrington didn't exactly follow the script.

"The first play of the game?" asked Harrington, "Sometimes defenses do a good job of disguising. They got me on that one. You always watch the film and say 'I should've gone there' or 'I could've gone there.' They got me."

Expect Williams number to get called early in the Cleveland contest in an effort to get him acclimated to the speed and timing of an NFL offense.

"Here in the league, they're in the cover-two looks and the cornerback just takes off running," said Wiliams. "I've never seen anything like that before, so I've got to get used to that. The game is pretty fast. I think I adapted to the speed of the game pretty quickly. I hope in this next game I see some improvement."

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Also, add Kevin Jones into the mix of those who could get into Saturday's contest against Cleveland. Jones practiced yesterday, but coach Mariucci is being extremely cautious with his prized rookie.  

"Kevin Jones, we'll see," said Mariucci. "He practiced today and he looked like a rookie that hadn't practiced much. We have to get him back in the swing of things with more reps. It's different when you're watching and trying to get mental reps and listening in the meetings versus actually being in the huddle and running the plays and getting lined up and knowing your assignments. I just want him to be ready to perform when he's out there. So we have a few more days of practice with him."

Jones, for his part, is anxious to get into the mix.  "You've got to get in there and mix it up because we haven't really done too much tackling in practice, and I haven't played in a game. So I've got to get a feel of the game."

Paws for thought: Which would be worse; getting some time against an average Browns defense or getting your first NFL reps against Ed Reed, Ray Lewis and the ferocious Raven's "D"?  Expect Jones to get enough reps to get into this weekend's contest.

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Rookie linebacker Teddy Lehman took a step back in his campaign to unseat veteran starter Earl Holmes in last week's win over Pittsburgh.  Lehman was fooled on some mis-direction plays, overran some plays and got caught up in the wash on other occasions.   He also contributed some solid play, especially in pass coverage.  This is typical for a rookie trying to get used to the schemes and tricks NFL offenses can play.

Lehman admitted his adrenline may have gotten the better of him.  "I was a little nervous. I had some butterflies. It feels good now. I look back and wish I could have done better. That happens every game, so that's expected. We need to get better everywhere. We need to keep improving."
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Lions quarterback Joey Harrington sparkled in his one drive against Pittsburgh.  After a dismal 2003 campaign, Harrington wants to keep the momentum going especially as the team progress towards the regular season opener in Chicago.  "It is one drive. One drive, one preseason game. You can't take too much from preseason games. You can get a tempo, you can get a rhythm, but once the regular season starts, it picks up a notch."

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With both Fernando Bryant and Dre' Bly returning to practice this week, Detroit's secondary figures to be a whole lot tougher this week.  Bryant said his main concern is getting on the same page with Dre' Bly so the two can cover for each other and pick their spots when to be agressive and when to hang back.

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Cory Redding didn't last long as a starter.  After moving into the left end starting position, he injured his shoulder and was held out of most of yesterday's session which moved Kalimba Edwards back into running with the first unit in Redding's absence.   While Redding looked good against second and third stringers, it'll be another story to see how he does against Cleveland's first unit.

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With Colin Cole and Marcus Bell making plays, could yet another veteran be at the end of the line?  Kelvin Pritchett, now 34, is still battling to stay on the roster.  Mariucci has indicated he'd like to keep an extra lineman and Cole could be a candidate for the practice squad.

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Finally, speaking of the practice squad which has been expanded to eight players; Cole, Chris Kern, Julius Curry, Dave Pearson, Curt Ansel and Trevor Gaylord are all candidates to stick with that unit.  The one possible fly in the ointment is all have to be waived first before being added to the practice squad.   Detroit lost running back James Mungro two years ago to the Indianapolis Colts when they exposed him to waivers.


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